West Nile Virus found in Illinois

(KBSI) – It’s officially summer, and mosquitoes, including the diseases they carry are more likely to appear.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) warns people about the spread of the West Nile Virus.

According to Miranda Adams, Environmental Health Director for Southern Seven Health Department, the West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito.

So far, no human cases have been reported so far this year. Although, last year, 64 cases and five deaths were reported in Illinois. According to IDPH, those statistics are significantly under-reported).

On May 24, a positive result for West Nile was found in a mosquito in DuPage County, Illinois. Since then, six other counties – Cook, Will, Logan, Edgar, Macoupin, and Washington – have reported positive results.

Adams explained that the mosquitoes are expected to migrate south shortly.

“Reduce, repel, and report,” are the three things, Adams says, that people can do to prevent contracting West Nile.

  • REDUCE – make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut. Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
  • REPEL – when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a light-colored, long-sleeved shirt, and apply an EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito larvae.

Tap here for an update about the virus’s location.

Tap here for more information about West Nile virus from the Illinois Department of Public Health. 

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